.- The Acting Administrator of NASA and the Equal Opportunity Programs Office at Goddard Space Flight Center have encouraged agency employees to take part in âLGBT Pride Month,â leading to criticism that the action takes the space agency âcompletely off-missionâ and promotes homosexual activism.
An announcement posted at the website of Goddard Space Flight Centerâs Equal Opportunity Programs Office began by referencing President Bill Clintonâs 1999 declaration of June as âGay and Lesbian Pride Month.â The announcement said the first âGay Pride paradeâ was held on June 28, 1970 on the first anniversary of the âStonewall Rebellion.â
The Stonewall event marked a New York City riot in which patrons of a gay bar resisted police who were attempting to enforce liquor laws at a Greenwich Village inn.
A contemporary New York Times report characterized the patrons as going on a ârampageâ and said four policemen were injured in the initial violence.
The NASA announcement characterized the police as âharassing and arresting gay and transgendered persons.â
âThe patrons fought back in a protest that lasted for the next three days,â the announcement continued. âFor many gays and lesbians, this protest marks the first organized effort in the United States by gays and lesbians to openly gain equality under the law, and gave birth to the modern gay civil rights movement.â
âDuring Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, we focus on our efforts to embrace acceptance and welcome diversity in communities regardless of sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost from HIV and AIDS, and other group gathering events that attract thousands upon thousands of individuals.â
The announcement then described âsymbols of LGBT prideâ and referred employees to internal sites for more information.
Christopher J. Scolese, Acting Administrator for NASA, also mentioned the Stonewall riots in a message about âLesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Monthâ sent out to agency employees. He characterized the âcelebrationâ of LGBT Pride as a commemoration of the riots, which he said were an act of ârejecting discrimination and standing up for the American values of fairness and equality.â
âThis month-long observance gives all of us an opportunity to appreciate the accomplishments of LGBT Americans and celebrate the many contributions members of the LGBT community make daily to the fabric of American life,â Scolese continued.
He mentioned âLGBT peopleâ such as Todd Hawley, co-founder of the International Space University, and atmospheric scientist James Pollack.
Scolese encouraged employees to take part in âLGBT Pride Monthâ activities planned at their NASA center or to organize an activity if there is no planned event.
âTake time to learn about the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, and celebrate the diversity that has helped shape and strengthen NASA and our nation,â his statement closed.
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, said Scoleseâs announcement was âstunningâ and charged that it promoted activities which ââcelebrateâ aberrant forms of sexual conduct.â He called the action âcompletely off-missionâ and counterproductive to the best interests of children, families and âthe common good of society.â
âNASA's work is critical, exacting and if not done properly, life threatening. With all the challenges, and tragedies that NASA has had in its past, it is unconscionable that its administrator would promote this type of a distraction and internally divisive social activism.â
He said the action breeds âbad internal moraleâ and disrespects the consciences of âtens of thousands, if not the vast majority, of NASAâs own 300,000 employeesâ who object to âthe promotion of sexual activism.â
âPromotions of specific sexual orientations over others clearly is outside of NASA's mission and is being paid for by taxpayersâ dollars,â Stemberger said. âNASA should be for advancing scientific space research objectives, not engaging in homosexual activism.â